Hurry up, tree!
Wednesday February 05th 2020, 11:30 pm
Filed under: Food,Friends,Life,Mango tree

My Big Boy tomato plant from last year finally froze to death. The Sungold under the eaves is still blooming. House warmth for the win.

Monday night and thereafter, I had to turn on the heater under the Sunbubble at dusk for the first time all winter; the Christmas lights just weren’t enough. For so long it was simply about keeping the mango comfortably above freezing, but now we need to protect the more vulnerable flower buds that are bursting out all over.

This is just the top of the tree because I can’t step far enough back in the greenhouse for a better shot.

The tree’s gotten big and the crop will be a lot more than last year’s three fruits.

My friend Jean grew up in Hawaii and misses the Hayden mangoes of her youth. She tried three times to grow her own but always lost them to the cold and she has cheered my tree on with great enthusiasm ever since she found out about it.

Last year’s three went to Dani who instigated the whole thing and whom I’d long promised the first fruit to, Eli who helped take care of the tree numerous times while we were out of town before we bought the greenhouse, and the last one for, well, us.

This is the year the first one is supposed to be for Jean. Jean, who once brought a paper bag of ripe pomegranates to church from her two year old tree that were such a revelation that I’d planted my own, a Parfianka, having never known before what a ripe pom actually tastes like. (The stores can’t sell them when they start to split.) Jean, who loves seeing pictures of how my Alphonso is growing, it’s really doing it, it’s surviving here! It’s blooming!

Today’s her 94th birthday.

The last few months she’s been pretty much bed-bound.

I don’t know that it’s fair to ask her to hang around till this big plant of mine finishes doing its thing in six or seven months but I’m still going to remind her I promised.

Five months
Tuesday February 04th 2020, 10:17 pm
Filed under: Family

Someone’s getting bigger.

People are funny
Tuesday February 04th 2020, 10:42 am
Filed under: Life

There was a young mom at Trader Joe’s yesterday with her little boy in the cart. He looked about four. It was close to dinnertime but he was cheerful and bubbly and absolutely adorable. We crossed paths several times and smiled at each other.

When I went to get in line, they were just back of the line but not getting in, as if they were waiting for something. She was working at keeping him entertained.

Well, hey, so I opened my purse and went looking.

I caught the mom’s eye to get her approval, and said, penguin finger puppet outstretched, that we’d been to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and I’d showed one of the penguins my penguin and it had followed it around, like it was trying to figure out how it had gotten so small.

The little boy was delighted at the story, so with another nod to his mom first to be sure I handed him his own and said, Happy Birthday!

The mom was startled: Wait. Really?! How cool is that!

I tried not to be too in-their-face from there and got back to my line and paid attention to the clerk starting to reach for my groceries, but it just totally made their day.

And then the little guy got really excited. Grandma!!

Grandma, an African-American woman about my age, was coming out from the back and off her shift and dead on her feet. (While I thought, ah, that’s why the mom looks familiar–she looks like her mom, who works here.) It had clearly been a long day. She had had it. She was just done. Get her out of here.

But here were these two excitedly telling her about penguins and this penguin and they all turned to me as the grandma’s face completely changed. They waved.

They headed out, and now I (finally) noticed a woman with a daughter of about the same age standing back to back with me in their line, so I offered her one for her daughter, too.

She looked at me like I had three heads and said no, a bit offended.

Well that’s fine.

I told the clerk, I just got fifty of these in the mail.

He laughed warmly, understanding better now how all that came to be.

The second mom was getting into her late-model BMW next to my ’07 Prius as I came out, saw me, and was out of there.

But I knew a grandma was smiling out there who’d needed that.

Your yarn rings a bell
Sunday February 02nd 2020, 9:53 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

There’s a certain blue-eyed redhead here whose cataracts came early on, as they often do for such. The first one was operated on a few years ago and as I drove him home he kept exclaiming over and over again at the clarity and the colors and the crispness of everything. He’s the rock-solid-steady type who doesn’t do little-boy jumping-up-and-down excitement but boy, for him, he really did that morning. I was both amused and thinking, wow. Cool. Good for him.

Tomorrow morning we get to do that with the other eye, only, this time he knows how good it’s going to be and he’s quite looking forward to it.

I’m going to get me some knitting done while I wait.

Last time, one of the doctors I’d met while in the hospital in ’09 walked by and recognized me as much by my needles and yarn as my face.

I’ll keep an eye out for her.

American Lie, not entirely by Don McLean
Saturday February 01st 2020, 6:16 pm
Filed under: Politics

I searched but wasn’t able to find a source for this. It’s from a comment in the Washington Post. (Original version uploaded by Don McLean here.) 


American Lie (The Day Democracy Died)
Source (Another Blogger)

A long, long time ago
I can still remember How democracy used to make me smile
And I knew if we had a choice
Then we could make our nation rejoice
And, maybe, we’d be happy for a while

But January made me shiver
With every vote that Mitch delivered
Bad news from the trial
I couldn’t take one more liar
I can’t remember if I cried
When I heard about T??mp ’s endless bribes
But something touched me deep inside
The day our democracy died

[Chorus] So bye-bye, you American Lie
Took an Uber to the Starbucks,
but the Starbucks was dry
And them Senate boys were talking BS ‘n lies
Singing ..,This’ll be the day democracy dies
This’ll be the day democracy dies

Did you tweet another meme
And did you have faith in the rule of men
If the Constitution told you so
Do you believe in fair elections
Can due process save our mortal soul
And will the march to fascism begin to slow
Well, I know that T??mp ’s in love with power
Cause I watched him tweeting every hour
T??mp ‘s Nazis kicking who they choose
Man they dig those black and blues

I was an idealistic progressive man
With a Drump T??mp Hat and a minivan
But I knew I was out of luck
The day our democracy died

I started singing [Chorus]
Bye-bye, you American Lie … This’ll be the day democracy dies

Now for three years, we’ve been on our own
After hacked emails flowed forth from Roger Stone
But that’s not how it used to be
When the news told truth to you and me
Like they did in Nineteen Seventy-Three
With a voice that came from all networks you see

Oh, and while Pelosi was showing a serious frown
The [P] grabber dressed with a MAGA crown
The Senate was adjourned
An acquittal was returned
And while Bolton published a book on T??mp
The Senate put it in the dump
And we smoked “roofers” in the dark
The day our democracy died
We were singing … Bye-bye, you American Lie … This’ll be the day democracy dies, This’ll be the day democracy dies

When you really need a warm comforting blanket
Friday January 31st 2020, 9:57 pm
Filed under: History,Knit,Politics

To quote Dana Millbank, who was in the press galley. This was just before the Republicans in the Senate voted to hear no witnesses and see no documents:

‘“Please don’t give up,” manager Zoe Lofgren (Calif.) urged. “This is too important.”

Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) stuck a finger in his left nostril.’


I’m never going to be able to think of this as anything but the impeachment blanket. It’s been quite a week, hasn’t it, but at least I got nearly all of this out of all of that.

Remember 1/31 on 11/3.

(Oh and just for fun, today, with appointments on the calendar for next week, we found out we have our first coronavirus case here. Treated at our medical clinic–just like during SARS, when it was California’s epicenter. Don’t touch the elevator buttons with your fingers, yay for tips of canes, and SARS got them to install hand purifiers at every landing.)

Favorite new photo
Thursday January 30th 2020, 11:10 pm
Filed under: Family

Our big strong son-in-law, holding five-month-old Lillian over his head with a big smile.

Just below him, Mathias, two and three quarters, with his favorite soft Shaun the Sheep toy, holding it high over his head and looking upwards with love.

Questions and answers part of the impeachment hearing
Wednesday January 29th 2020, 11:16 pm
Filed under: Food,History,Politics

Hours and hours of afghan rows as I watched.

Alan Dershowitz does the finger jabbing and the emphatic hands splayed, arms wide circular motions that darn if it didn’t make him look like a Bernie Sanders body double.

What came out of his mouth was utter nonsense. The President can do nothing wrong if he’s running for reelection because he thinks it’s for the good of the country and l’etat c’est moi and all that. (Yeah, that worked out so well for Napoleon and Nixon.) Truly: the President’s lawyers all argued that because he was the President he could do no wrong nor could he be held accountable in any way, including impeachment, ever. They waved away that whole pesky Constitution thing.

Adam Schiff was professional, smart as a whip, knew his stuff, and calmly went straight to the point, again and again. The others on his team were good but man he really nailed it each time. I fully expect him to be President someday, and we will be much better off for it when that happens.

And this was yesterday, but Mitt Romney broke the rules in the most rebellious-teenage-Mormon way possible: by both tradition and current decree, only water or milk in glasses may be drunk on the Senate floor during the proceedings.

He got an order flown in in dry ice from BYU Creamery and got caught drinking chocolate milk. From their bottle. (Product placement for his alma mater and all that for the old businessman.) Not exactly the letter of the law but with that triumphant grin that mothers of high schoolers everywhere know well.

So busted.

Out of a suitcase
Tuesday January 28th 2020, 10:54 pm
Filed under: History

One of our church leaders, tasked with coordinating relief efforts, said a few years ago, Their being refugees doesn’t tell you who they are. But how we respond tells us who *we* are.

I was reminded of that while scrolling through these pictures. Former refugees, one an artist, interviewing current ones and then making their words visible.

If you click on the individual boxes (about halfway down) you get their stories–and their hope–as well.


Another good guy
Monday January 27th 2020, 11:02 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift

The friend I gave the five hats to, who promptly distributed four of them to his friends, dropped by for just a moment this evening with another friend in tow.

So I briefly put him on the spot by asking the guy, Now are you one of the friends who got one of my hats?

A quizzical, Hats?

So he turned that to the subject of–and here the two of them interwove various sentences to tell it–how our friend had gone running, had managed to spear his on a tree branch overhead, didn’t realize it wasn’t still on his head till later and he’d gone back and looked and looked and just couldn’t find it. Meantime, the second guy had gone running later, in the same place, had seen and recognized that hat and had snagged it and returned it to him. They were laughing at all the improbabilities that had happened for that to have worked out, but it had. Good times.

I grabbed my purse and checked: they were still in there. Good. I didn’t have to interrupt to go looking in the other room. I asked friend two if he’d like one of these?

He in great delight picked the foggy blue one. Now he had one of his own. Watch out for those tree branches!

They went off with the guy touching the new softness on his head in the chill of the evening, marveling and thanking and man that felt great.

Euell come back now, y’hear?
Sunday January 26th 2020, 11:13 pm
Filed under: Friends

The nine-month-old was batting a tiny hand at the back of the pew I was sitting on; I turned and smiled at him and played let’s touch fingers.

To my surprise, his dad asked, You want him?


He handed him over and that cheerful little baby boy was just fine with that. There were glasses to grab–a novelty to him. Hair, too. Thankfully, he didn’t see the hearing aids.

My kids were tall and thin even as babies but not this little guy. He was giving my arms a workout.

He was quick to smile a big grin with a randomness of teeth. We made friends. His mother passed over a favorite toy, and very soon we were playing pick up the toy. He hasn’t learned how to say Uh-oh yet but he is so looking forward to the day.

We were a few minutes in before I felt the inner ping ponging and realized that the teething toy was a rattle, too, which had not occurred to me. Oops. Sorry everybody. I don’t think it was a loud one because nobody turned to look, but then, what do I know?

Maybe I should start stashing a cloth Quiet Book in my purse on Sundays.

Warm and cozy
Saturday January 25th 2020, 7:52 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift

The warm brown is dominant in real life–this is the one I was working on at the mechanic’s on Tuesday. It had been kicking around in my purse not quite all there yet ever since.

Sometimes you just need to go finish something.

So I did.

Trial by foyer
Friday January 24th 2020, 11:53 pm
Filed under: History,Knit,Politics

All those Senators risking, as is stated at the beginning of each session, imprisonment for leaving the chambers during the proceedings–it’s been reported that quite a few of the Republican ones have been wandering out to the cloakroom. They say it’s hard to sit still. They say the chairs aren’t ergonomic.

Well, okay, so the proceedings do go on and on, sure.

But didn’t you guys bring your knitting? I mean, look at this–I had all of half a diamond done on this when the trial started. My grandmother-in-law knit a wool herringbone jacket during long Congressional hearings where her husband was being grilled years ago. (He was head of a government agency, it came with the job.)

You can’t make anything with fidget spinners, guys!

Old enough for kindergarten
Thursday January 23rd 2020, 11:22 pm
Filed under: Mango tree,Wildlife

This is its year. There are tightly closed new buds everywhere and the tree is dense and wide. There will be fruit, (hopefully) lots of fruit. 2020 here it comes!

Assuming the cottontail rabbit (how did it get here?) that’s taken up residence in the bushes next to it doesn’t start to develop a taste for mangoes.

Which you know it will. And it can dig under the Sunbubble to get in.

Richard bought me not one but two new supersoakers, just to make sure I got one that was good enough.

Wednesday January 22nd 2020, 10:38 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Knit

Cousin John told me about twenty years ago that he was allergic to wool. After his mother’s funeral in May ’18 I gave him a piano hat made of super-soft old-stash Epiphany yarn: royal baby alpaca, cashmere, and silk and no sheep. I’d remembered.

His parents had met playing in the Symphony and he was a gifted musician himself and that keyboard around his head was the perfect design for him. He was in great pain at the loss of his mom, whom he’d been caretaker to, but took much comfort in the offer of that hat and it meant a lot to me to be able to help in any way.

I told John’s sister that if one of the siblings wanted it that was fine with me but if not, I’d love to have it back if at all possible. She hadn’t seen it. I was given the executor’s phone number.
The man sounded absolutely overwhelmed. The loss, the pain, and now the burden. He was horrified to realize that he thought he remembered it but that he was thinking it had probably gone out in the trash with so much else. He apologized. “There was just so. much. stuff.”

I told him he didn’t have to look for it. But if he did find it not to worry at all about what condition it might be in—I would wash it. He didn’t have to. That was on me. And if I didn’t see it again, that’s okay, just know he had my thanks for all he was doing for our John whom he loved, too.

Monday while I was still in town after the funeral his sister Amy stopped by my mom’s house a few hours before I had to leave for the airport. She didn’t know who had found it nor where but she had the hat, she wanted to make sure I got it, and I think she wanted to see how happy it made me to get it back. So much more personal than popping it in the mail later. (She got a Malabrigo Mecha one, picking a pinks-and-purples colorway and leaving the two blue ones for the mechanic I didn’t know I was going to see the next day.)

It takes a fair bit to make animal fibers pick up smells and there wasn’t much of a one (blame the silk?) but there was some and it’s clean and drying now.

All the things that I knit, all the knits that I give away–that one I won’t again. That’s my Blueberry now.

Thank you, Stan out there. And Amy, and I don’t even know who all else to say that to.